Are you familiar with the story of David? Not just the highlights – Goliath, Bathsheba – but the whole story of his life?
It is unbelievably epic.
In a way, his life is really the Goliath situation over and over again. Unlikely victories, unbelievable odds.
Youngest son named king. Giant defeated. Unknown shepherd becomes war hero. Years on the run surrounded by a band of criminals who develop into a legendary fighting force. Near misses, narrow escapes. Unbelievable battles. Feigned madness. And ultimately, a seemingly unachievable crown obtained.
It’s a life story of long odds. Of un-winnable battles won again and again.
Now imagine yourself in that story. I’m serious. Take a moment, and think what you feel in those situations.
The awe and honor of being named king. The sheer overwhelming terror you must feel facing down a seven foot giant warrior. The unexpected elation of victory in war. The lowness of a life on the run – year after year.
We miss that sometimes as we read. Years of Sunday school lessons and VeggieTales movies can trick us into turning David into a biblical hero (or at least the hero of a novel) – unafraid, unbeatable, unattainable.
But the Bible is a story of reality – a tale of men and women like us. (James reference) And mostly it’s a story of God – the true Hero. The Unafraid. The Unbeatable.
Turn your eyes to verses 3 and 4 :
“O Lord, what is man that you regard Him, or the Son of Man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”
Doesn’t sound much like a benefit of the God does it?
But I want to make an argument that there is not a more freeing thought than this.
You see at the heart of what David is saying here is this idea: “I am not God”.
And even better, he doesn’t have to try to be.
When David fought Goliath, he knew his role. He wasn’t God. He wasn’t the one who had to be strong or quick or brilliant in battle. He just had to come, God was going to win.
“You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down…”
//1 Samuel 17:45b-46a//
Is this connecting with you? Have you got a Goliath ahead?
But let’s not be foolish. This isn’t just a lesson for car wrecks and emergencies. It’s not just a moment for obvious impossibilities and dramatic failures.
This is daily struggle.
This is your friendships. This is your dinner tomorrow night. This is your baby’s health. Your husband/wife’s love for you. Your weight gain or loss. Your project pitch. You fitting into a new town. This is your finding balance between work and life.
We are helpless in the face of these things. And, at the end of the day, we know it.
The best prepared pitch can fail, the best intentions can go astray, the best laid plan can be waylaid and we can be left desperate in the ashes. But don’t we try anyway?
We snatch at god-hood in all the moments of our lives – managing our impressions, planning just the right things to say or not say, orchestrating events, demanding outcomes.
But what we fail to see this this: when we reach for control we grab weights that are too heavy for us to lift. Problems too hard for us to solve, enemies too strong for us to fight.
We hurt and we struggle and we fail, but we hold on anyway. And then we reach out for more.
But here is the glorious freedom: We don’t have to.
These things are not your job. You are dust. A passing shadow. Dependent and cared for.
There is someone else willing to carry the weight of your failures and successes, your outcomes and future, your children, your provision, your family, your life. And he’s really good at it.
So we have the joy of the audacious prayers of David, “Lord I am nothing, bend the heavens for me”.
We have the confidence of knowing our Saviour has held back nothing in bringing about our good.
And we have the most joy giving new mantra for the things outside our remit, “This is not my job.”
This area can be tricky (at least I think so). Because so many of the things we most need to leave to God are also things we feel are our responsibility.
For me this month it’s been my business and my blog. I’m overwhelmed by my to-do lists, obsessed with reading articles about “finding your unique voice” or “Getting a head start on Pinterest marketing”. And every article I read or step I take seems to spin me more and more into an anxious spiral. Even my prayers can be a hint to the sinful heart behind my behaviour – demanding anxious prayers that leave me no more confident than I was before I prayed.
How do we find the balance between taking care of our responsibilities and trusting the Lord with our future?
Here are some questions that, I’m praying, will help you pinpoint the weights you’re holding on to.
When faced with a activity or a problem, am I content to do my best and then leave it alone? Or do I niggle and worry and evaluate responses?
Do I panic at downturns? At mistakes?
Does prayer bring me peace? Or am I anxious until the day I feel the situation is resolved?
“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
If you’re not sure how to direct your prayers, consider spending some time asking the Lord to teach you the distinction between what is His responsibility, and what is yours.
I was absolutely conflicted about what to share this week.
So here are three options (Is that allowed?)
For those who might struggle with believing that God’s control is kind, (maybe you feel unwilling to release control when you can’t be sure of the outcome) – take a moment to read through Psalm 145 and consider what kind of King God proves himself to be.
For those who struggle with soul weariness – maybe a heaviness with no clear source, or internal burdens – take a moment to read through this really uplifting article from Desiring God, “Come, All Who Are Weary”.
For those who struggle with practical (tangible) burdens and frustrations (unpaid bills, uncertain futures, difficult relationships) – take a moment to look through this short article by John Piper that reminds us of the promises of God, “Going Deep with God by Having Him Carry Our Loads”.
As always, if you have a moment this is a great opportunity to take another look at this month’s memory verse.
If you’d like to memorize with us, follow the link here for our free desktop downloads.
And if this is your first study, we think you’d benefit from reading our introductory study to get a taste of the heart behind what we’re doing. You can find that study here.
What a joy that we share this journey together. Praying for you all.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
//1 Peter 5:6,7//